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IBM brings smarter planet idea to Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 17 –Traffic congestion, poor sewerage and water systems and all other service delivery inefficiencies within Kenyan cities could soon be a thing of the past if the government takes up a new initiative launched by technology company IBM to rid cities of this kind of problems.  

The initiative dubbed ‘Smarter Planet’ has been used in other countries to facilitate better service delivery within cities.

IBM\’s General Manager for sub-Saharan Africa Mark Harris says the program is about helping governments and organisations build intelligent, resilient, cost and energy efficient public institutions and businesses to improve service delivery to citizens.

“We have invited the Nairobi City Council to a conference in Berlin that will be helping us discuss with all other partners on how to best facilitate these solutions to suit particular cities,” Mr Harris told Capital Business.

He explained that IBM already had some solutions in place especially for traffic tracking and congestion which are being used in cities like London, Sydney and Stockholm.

“These projects are working quite well and are well documented so anyone interested can have access to them and study them,”Mr Harris said adding that the smart systems are transforming energy grids, supply chains and water management around the world.

“The world is becoming instrumented, interconnected and intelligent. Around the globe, we are seeing the emergence of smart systems built with embedded sensors, and talking to each other. We believe there\’s an opportunity to implement some of these smart systems in the African region and here in Kenya,” he noted.

Meanwhile IBM has revealed plans to expand its operations in the country from a sales and marketing office to a fully fledged operation

Unlike in the past, the technology company will now have complete office that offers direct services to its clients within the region as opposed to fully relying on its business partners to do so.

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Mr Harris said the move was necessitated by increasing pressure from clients for provision of direct services to capture growth in the East African region.

“It’s just that more customers realised that the value for industry solutions required a more direct model but this does not mean that we are getting rid off our partners; we are just further investing in the channel,” Mr Harris explained.

The company has picked Kenya and Nigeria as the two frontiers of entry within the region a factor attributed in Kenya’s centrality and business dominance within the region.

Mr Harris said IBM will among other things focus on the Medium and Small enterprises which dominate 70 percent of the businesses within the African region.

“By expanding our operations and deepening our commitment to the local market, we will better serve the needs of our growing customer base in the region,” he said.

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